The Different Types of Computer Drives and How They Work

If you’ve never heard of a computer drive, look no further.

There are various drives on a computer that work together to power the computer. Most people are unaware of the different types of computer drives, making it difficult when it comes to troubleshooting. If you know about them, you can incorporate new things into your business and figure out what needs to be replaced if needed.

Drives are some of the most important parts of a computer as they handle storage-related information. Most of them are in the computer that you’re using, but not all of them are necessary.

Keep on reading to learn about the different types of computer drives.

What Is a Drive?

Computer drives are devices meant for storing and reading data. Every computer makes use of several drives to fully operate. Some are meant for networking whereas others are simply meant for storage. For example, any time you access a program, a hard drive is being used.

You can find information about which drives are in your computer by going into its settings. From there, you’ll find a list of each drive and the details. When it comes to storage devices, you can see how much available space you have.

USB Drive

A USB drive (or flash drive) is one of the most common drives that people are familiar with. These small devices are used to transport data between multiple computers. It plugs directly into the USB port and typically holds up to 64 gigabytes of storage.

You can store anything on a USB drive that you can on a hard drive. Whether you’d like to move a photo editing program or a video game, a USB drive can store it. When it’s connected to a computer, you can access whatever is stored on it.

Hard Drive

Out of all the different types of drives, the hard drive is one of the most important. Most computers, especially older ones, use hard drives as their main form of storage. These can hold several terabytes of storage, allowing people to keep downloading things without having to worry about storage.

Hard drives operate by using a set of magnetic disks to read and write data. When a disk can spin at high speeds, it can quickly load data. You’ll find that hard drives come in various speeds, so you should try to get a higher one if you’re looking to purchase one


An SSD (solid-state drive) is another popular form of storage that’s starting to surpass hard drives as the preferred form of storage. What makes SSDs stand out is their ability to quickly read and write data without having to wait for the device to scan information.

Instead of using magnetic disks to read and write, solid-state drives use a variety of chips to send data back and forth. With this type of technology, they can load large chunks of data within seconds.

It’s normal to see a computer with an SSD installed load up within a few seconds whereas one with a hard drive could take well over 10-15 seconds.

Disk Drive

Disk drives are starting to become a thing of the past as we don’t use discs as much as we used to. These drives are regularly used to read CDs and other discs that you’d use on your computer. They can also write data on the disk, allowing people to produce copies of music, movies, and programs.

This technology is becoming obsolete because most people download their programs and media. With everything being accessible on the cloud, there isn’t much of a need to carry around discs. However, you can still install them in most computer cases.

RAM Disk

If you’ve ever opened multiple programs at once and have noticed that your computer slows down, it’s because your RAM isn’t powerful enough. RAM controls all of the extra memory that your computer uses whenever a program is running.

Whenever you run a program, your computer will run other programs in the background. The RAM disks will temporarily store data from the programs so that they can be quickly accessed. This prevents you from having to restart a program every time you tab out of it.

Network Drive

A network drive is something that most people won’t be familiar with as they’re often used by large businesses that share data across a network. Although this is feasible with cloud storage, a network drive can provide secure transfers because they take place within a single network.

Network drives are essentially cloud storage systems, but they don’t rely on third-party servers to transfer the data. Instead, any device from within the network can access a file that’s shared in the network drive. This is especially beneficial to places like schools, where file-sharing is becoming increasingly important.

Understanding how to map a network drive can be a difficult process, but you’d be able to modernize your business and improve productivity.

Now You Know Various Types of Computer Drives

Understand what types of computer drives exist will benefit anyone that’s looking to get into IT. If you run a business, having this knowledge will let you manage the business effectively as you’ll know what kind of equipment you’ll need.

We encourage you to start looking into these drives and compare them to what you currently have. If your business could benefit from something like a network drive, you should consider installing one.

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